A review of Government communications needs to be undertaken in light of the “fiasco” around the proposed nature restoration law, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said.

Cowen said that at this week's Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, it was confirmed to him “that all the scares that had been put around on the nature restoration law were bogus".

"Our party leader and Minister for Agriculture confirmed that there will be no compulsion on farmers to participate in the schemes [and] that there is sufficient land in the State banks to meet the Irish targets on re-wetting,” he said.

Cowen told the Irish Farmers Journal that compensation should be made available with any rewetting scheme in the event of damage being caused to land adjoining rewet land.


Cowen said that it was “unfortunate” that the Government allowed the “untruths to take hold”.

The communications around this law has been far from satisfactory and requires review, he said.

“The eye was seen to have been off the ball on this key issue for Ireland and while progress was made in recent at EU level by Council of Ministers, all this was lost in the spurious claims being made by negative forces,” the Offaly TD said.

Cowen, a former Minister for Agriculture, said that he would be writing to Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to communicate clearly on the matter.


“I will be asking the Minister for Agriculture and the Tánaiste to undertake a communications campaign to make clear the facts confirmed to me this week, and to unwind the false narratives they have allowed to take hold.

“I will be asking Ministers Ryan and McConalogue to use this opportunity on State lands to also gift sites on Bord na Móna, Coillte and other national land banks for community renewable projects.

“I am also asking the Minister for Housing to confirm to the public that the nature law will not, as claimed, impede any county or city development plan on residential housing. The Government needs to get the narrative on this important law back on track and out of the hands of doomsayers for Irish farming,” he said.


On Tuesday, the proposed law failed to get the backing of MEPs in the European Parliament’s environment committee.

Some 44 MEPs voted to back the planned law, while another 44 voted against it. The law will be voted for by the European Parliament in full next month.

Read more

Nature restoration law must to go ‘back to the drawing board’ - IFA

Emissions from drained peat grasslands 60% lower - Teagasc report

Hackett says Nature Restoration Law can revitalise rural Ireland